There are tool watches, and there are tool watches. Enthusiasts look beyond the standard issue products, where manufacturers push the outer limits of their products into the realm of the extreme. These over-engineered products drive the passionate base of collectors and power users and say a lot about the brands that build them. It’s why cars like the Porsche 911 GT2 RS exist, it’s why 262 inch LED televisions to exist, and it’s why these hardcore tool watches exist. Will 99.9% of us ever take any of these things to their limits? Nope. Does that make us want them any less? Nope. Here are 5 watches that we’d call completely over-engineered.
The Rolex Submariner is as competent a dive watch as you’ll ever need. It’s a legend, and it’ll serve the most avid of recreational divers out there. If you fall into the category of commercial diver, you’re probably using a dive computer, but if you wear a watch, you’ll be thankful to know about the Sea-Dweller, a more hardcore version of the Submariner that features 4 times the depth rating of the Sub (4,000ft to the Sub’s 1,000ft), and a helium escape valve. If that’s still a little too soft for you, there exists the DSSD, the Deep Sea Sea-Dweller. This is a watch that dwarfs other Rolex divers and offers 12,800ft of depth rating and as robust a case you’re likely to find on a commercially available watch. It’s ridiculous, and we love it, especially with the D-Blue dial as seen on this example.
Okay, so whether the MB&F HM5 is a tool watch or not is certainly up for debate, but there’s no doubt it’s been over-engineered to an extreme degree. This unconventional watch features an outer case made of zirconium, with the movement housed in a steel casing within that to protect it from moisture and shocks. Water can be drained from the space between via “exhaust” ports at the back of the case. A lever opens louvers atop the caseback, allowing light to better illuminate the sapphire window when reading the time. Oh yeah, time is read vertically through a sapphire prism, reminiscent of the dashboard on a car. Whatever you want to call this style of watch (Horological Machine), there’s no denying it’s impressive engineering feats.
Much like Rolex, Omega makes perfectly practical dive watches within their Seamaster line that can also be worn day to day without looking out of place. Also like Rolex, they know how to go overboard when the need arises. The PloProf takes the Seamaster to the extreme not only in looks (check out that case design), but in performance credentials. 4,000ft depth rating? Check. Helium Escape valve? That’s a big check (the orange appendage at 2 o’clock). Super stylish “beads of rice” bracelet? Check. It’s all there, and it’s all over the top. Those who did use it had last names like Cousteau. Shop this watch right here.
This is a watch that wears its rugged-ness on its sleeves. Jaeger-LeCoultre enlisted the help of US Navy SEALs in the development of this watch, which should tell you all you need to know about the level of engineering that went into this watch. It’s ISO 6425 certified to 1,000M, features a movement operating indicator, which will let you know when it falls out of optimal timing and requires a wind, and locking chronograph pushers sealed under rubber. This watch is not for the faint of heart, and it’s robust dimensions leave little question as to the watches true intentions. Shop this watch right here.
Rolex gets a second entry to this list, which shouldn’t be a surprise as they specialize in exactly this kind of over-engineered watch manufacturing. This time, it’s with the Milgauss. At first glance, the Milgauss may not look like much outside of a simple three-hander, but on the inside, it’s a powerhouse of protection for the movement. As the name suggests, the watch is resistant to 1,000 gausses of magnetism. This is done through the use of a variety of proprietary components developed by Rolex, all cased in their 904l steel. It’s a hefty bit of engineering packaged in an accessible design that happens to be the most wearable of this bunch, and by no small margin. Find it right here.